Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Birthday Traditions

Birthdays are a time of excitement...especially in our house with 5 little people. The other day, Jed, our #4 turned 6 and he was overflowing with joy. Everyone was ready to celebrate the day they'd eagerly been anticipating! As a Mom, I'll admit I don't always enjoy the big day as much as the kids, but I'm learning that traditions are important.

Jed's day began with a balloon on his chair and a candle in his pancake. We started this nearly 12 years ago when our oldest turned 1 and the kids expect it now. There's also their choice of meal for the day, but their favorite is the cake. Baking is not my strong point and my creative skills are even weaker, so when J.D. was little I let him help with the decorating. Little did I know it was the beginning of something they think is great! So each birthday they help stir up the cake and frost it too. Through the years many have been covered with sprinkles and little tractors. And now my girls are old enough to basically do it all themselves!

All these traditions are good and part of the Beran birthdays, but the other day I was reminded of my favorite one - the birthday letter. When each of our kids were born I wrote them a letter and I've continued the tradition on their birthday. It recaps some big events for the year, highlights their relationships with family and assures them of my love. A couple of years ago, I started adding more - a verse I prayed for them and a prayer I wrote for them on their special day.

We tuck my written words in a simple folder and every birthday read them from start to finish. In their early years this was NO big deal, but on the eve of my oldest son's 10th birthday he said to me, "Mom, don't forget to write my letter!" Honestly, I was amazed! I figured down the road it would be a keepsake for at least one of them, but I didn't expect my 9 year old to feel that way!

Laughing at the memories and the things they use to say are fun. Remembering their favorites and funny stages is good. We enjoy comments the older kids jot down as well, but for me, and eventually I pray for them, the important thing will be the evidence of God's presence in their life, His faithfulness and power. I see that as a parent when I read words I lifted up 365 days earlier. And this year, I'm seeing it's a tradition that will continue - Joy (10) wrote her little brother a letter that melted her mother's heart!

Friend, I don't know what birthday traditions are part of your family, but I encourage you to incorporate this one. Not because it was my good idea, but I believe it's a good teaching tool and a reminder of our love. Words are powerful and written ones can be kept. Prayers are even more powerful and they will be answered. Reflecting on our words reminds us of where we've been, how God's worked and that Philippians 1:6 is true. Paul tells us that "He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it!"

This idea of marking and remembering isn't new, the Israelites were commanded to do it as well. In Joshua 4:4-7 says, "So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Possibly a new tradition?!?!
Friends, God wants us to remember who He is and what He does! This simple, little birthday tradition helps our family do just that! I'd love to hear how your family does the same!


  1. Oh Jill, this about has me in tears. What wonderful, soul-marking traditions your family has! I can't think of a more valuable treasure than those folders of letters. Whew.. perhaps I'm a tad emotional over this. :)

    Joining you with stones of thanksgiving and remembrance to our Abba.

    Much love and a big happy birthday to your Jed!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Sas! I always appreciate your encouraging words and am grateful God can speak through my mine! The Jed man is surely feeling the love this week! Blessings to you!